Issues:

2. Education:

1.    Any plans for charter school expansion and publicly-funded vouchers for private schools must be stopped immediately. This is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Charters have not outperformed public schools despite the advantage they have of being allowed to expel disruptive and violent students and send them to their neighborhood public school. This amounts to an assault on the quality of public school education everywhere.

2.    Public funding for education must be increased to adequate levels for every district. State and the federal governments must insure that underfunded districts receive equal funding. Anything less is unconstitutional.

3.    High school students who achieve a 3.0 or higher average in college prep curricula should be awarded a four- year full scholarship, two years at a community college and two years at a state-funded university.

4.    U.S. government-backed low-interest loans, payable over long periods of time after graduation (at least 16 years) should be available to all poor and middle-class college students.

5.    Increased investment in trade schools at the high school and community college level is necessary, not only for the career preparation of students who do not go to college, but also for the viability of our economy. We cannot even replace our transportation infrastructure, let alone re-establish the competitiveness of our nation’s manufacturing industries, without an adequately trained workforce. We must encourage young people to pursue trades and supply them with the training they need in order to have the bare minimum size workforce needed to replace our transportation infrastructure and compete in the manufacturing sector.

6.    Armed police officers must be permanently stationed at the doors of every school, all day, every day, to be used solely for preventing armed attacks of schools. Unarmed school resource officers should continue to perform all other security-related duties as they always have.

7.    The success or failure of schools and the evaluation of teachers and principals should not be tied to standardized test results (i.e. Keystone exams) unless students have an equal stake in their test results. Students’ test results should be published on their transcripts for colleges, trade schools, military and employers to see. When passing standardized tests dictates whether or not a student graduates, then the teacher, student and administrator each have an equal stake in that student's results. As it stands now, most students do not care how they do on their standardized tests and do not put much effort into them at all. It is not fair to judge a school, teacher or administrator based upon tests that students do not give their best efforts to pass.

8.    Community control of schools is essential for their success. School boards should be local and members should be elected. There is no political accountability in too many districts that are often mismanaged and have shut down neighborhood schools against the will of the local populace.

9.    Charter schools who harass teachers exercising their rights to unionize should lose their charters.
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